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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

A PERIOD  OF  TRANSITION
85
appreciate the humanitarian character, such as the abolition of the corvee, which he supported heart and soul. But though imbued with French official formalism, he was not an administrator, and whilst he admired the English, and readily admitted that their presence in Egypt was indispensable, he resented, not only their occasionalbrusqueness, but also their businesslike methods, and above all Lord Cromer's insistence on rigid economy, which savoured to him of parsimony. Hence, though Nubar was more than once called upon to step into the breach as Prime Minister, a fundamental incompatibility d'humeur prevented sustained co-operation between two men who had more in common than either of them had with other Egyptian Ministers.
To Biaz Pasha, for whom Lord Cromer had a strong personal liking, the abuses of the old regime, against which he had also courageously stood up when it required great courage to do so, were as hateful as to Nubar, but he wanted to reform them in his own way, which was an anti-European way. For he was too convinced a Maho-medan to believe that good could really come to a Mahomedan country through European intervention. He recognised at times the necessity of working with Lord Cromer, and he tried honestly to do so, but he was too rugged and too unbending to adapt himself to new conditions, even though he was fain to accept them as at least temporarily inevitable. It was not until Mustapha Fehmi took office in 1895 that Lord Cromer found an Egyptian Prime Minister who, with far less originality, possessed the sound common-sense, the modest unselfishness, and the patient industry which enabled him to render solid but unobtrusive service in that capacity both to his own country and to the British controlling power for nearly fourteen years.
Of greater importance even than the Prime Minister was the personality of the Khedive, who could not so easily be removed. Fortunately for nine years, i.e., during the most critical years of his pro-Consulate,